Michelle McKenzie-Voigt has professional credits ranging from Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) to camp (Poseidon: An Upside-Down Musical). Recent favorites include The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, Jesus Camp, Company, The Spitfire Grill, Cabaret, and Sordid Lives, for which she has been nominated for a 2012 Broadway World Chicago Award as Best Actress in a Play (Resident Non-Equity). She is honored to have worked with such theaters as Profiles, Provision, Organic, ITC, BrightSide, Cornservatory, Ludicrous, and Handbag, among others. A professional singer and voice talent, she is a Northwestern University graduate, four-time Chicago Emmy Award-nominee, and a proud company member of both PFP and Glitterati Productions.
Full Birth Name: Michelle Marie McKenzie-Voigt
Age you became interested in theatre: I don’t remember a time – even as a child – when I wasn’t interested in performing.
Favorite show you worked on: Gypsy
Most memorable moment while working on a show: Every show has its own special memories, but in general, the moment just before I begin a big (solo) number is my favorite. I feel as though I’m giving the audience a gift that’s just about to be unwrapped.
Mentors or inspirations: My first mentor was my high school drama teacher, Frank Robins. He’s no longer with us, but his support and encouragement were pivotal, to say the least. After that, I’d have to say Tony Mockus, who got me my first Equity job, and John Nasca, who changed my life by giving me the role of a lifetime.
On a show day, how early do you arrive at the theatre: I typically arrive at least 1 hour before curtain, but depending on the role, I may get there 2 hours early.
Dressing room must-have: My script and, if it’s summertime, an electric fan!
A show and role you would like to do: Non-musical: Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Musical: I’d love to reprise Rose in Gypsy
If you were in NY for 4 hours what show would you see: The Book of Mormon or anything John Nasca considers a “must-see”
The best part of waking up is: Folgers in your cup. No, seriously, when I’ve been able to sleep soundly for 9 hours!
If you could change your first name, what would you change it to: I’ve always loved the name “Michelle” and would never change it. But I do like the name “Katherine” – if I’d had a daughter, I would have named her that.
Favorite food: Warm chocolate cake with a glass of ice-cold skim milk, preferably eaten in bed.
Worst costume: I was dressed as a chicken for a dinner theater musical revue
First stage kiss: My first stage kiss was also my first kiss in real life! I was 15 and rehearsing a scene from William Gibson’s wonderful play Dinny and the Witches. All my friends knew I had not yet been kissed and they congregated en masse in the auditorium to watch the first rehearsal of that pivotal scene!
One lesson you have learned while working in the theatre: Patience.
Most unplanned moment or funniest unscripted moment that happened to you while onstage: This was by no means funny, but it was certainly unplanned. During Gypsy, I was about to launch into “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” when one of my bracelets broke, scattering dozens of tiny round beads directly in my path. The director held his breath – he had visions of me slipping on the beads, which were everywhere, and crashing to the floor. Fortunately, that did not happen!
Pre-show ritual: I don’t have one. I do like to review the notes the director has given me throughout the rehearsal process, but I wouldn’t call it a ritual.
Biggest pet peeve: Knowing when the show is going to be videotaped.
One piece of advice for those who are aspiring to work in the theatre:
1) Believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will.
2) Always ALWAYS be polite to everyone.
3) DON’T COMPLAIN.
4) Take classes; it’s important to keep learning and growing.
5) Read plays and go to see theater.
(I guess that’s more than one, isn’t it?)